Friday, July 12th, 2013...11:08 am

jeffrey winke | chronicles of the cool jazz cat: the jazz club

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Photo by Jeffrey Winke

Chronicles of the Cool Jazz Cat: The Jazz Club

In a gritty corner of the city among forgettable old buildings it sits. Most drive past this near-hidden gray stretch and never notice. For years it’s sat on a drive-by street—a road that thousands take to get from A to B.

On certain nights, a soft yellow flood lamp pinpoints the arched entrance. A flickering blue neon sign says JAZZ. This is The Jazz Club.

Although the exterior is understated and too easy to ignore, those in the know come to this intimate haven to escape. Jazz transforms the mundane into the remarkable.

Those entering become beautiful, embracing a Bohemian alternate life, willingly transforming into their jazz selves. Sabra, Ajay, Jude, and Cawana are all here sipping fanciful drinks, snifters of cognac, or deep red wine served in full, round stemware. They are alluring… even exotic, and not unlike anyone else who is here.

They sit at a small mahogany table immersed in the glow of candlelight. There are a dozen such tables and several plush, darkly upholstered love seats off to the sides where couples warmly snuggle, enjoying the live music.

In the shadows of one dark corner is where our hero sits coolly at a smoke-glass high-top table. Unnoticed and cloaked by darkness he sits… alone with his thoughts, impressions, and opinions, known as the Cool Jazz Cat.

He observes. He senses. He knows. He exudes the essence of jazz.

He has never been fully seen and somehow slips into the club unnoticed. Some say he is tall, rail thin, and wears a black beret. Others say he is short, stocky, and always in a dark suit. Some even suggest that he is actually a she with wild raven-black hair and bewitching eyes (which could be as true as the first two reports, but I think of the Cool Jazz Cat as being a man, until I get the opportunity to learn otherwise). All I know is that he (or she) has exceptional insights on jazz and the jazz aficionados who frequent The Jazz Club.

It has taken me years to gain The Cat’s uncertain confidence. I sit just outside the inky black shadows where The Cat resides and transcribe what is said in a soft voice, so soft I can’t determine The Cat’s gender.

Sometimes he’ll pass me observations made from a previous night that have been typewritten on an old Underwood, Remington, or Royal typewriter.

In this column, I will reveal what the Cool Jazz Cat divulges to me. You will discover what he knows. You will perceive what he sees. You will morph into the rare world of the Cool Jazz Cat. You will experience jazz!

Jeffrey WinkeJeffrey Winke

Jeff lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a warehouse loft with an obstructed view of Lake Michigan. He writes haiku, haibun, flash fiction, and articles about heavy equipment moving dirt. A recent victim of the global economic recession, Winke supplements his unemployment check with odd jobs that include paid participation in medical experiments and being a doorman for a jazz club located in a dark corner of the city. Much more on Jeff can be found via his web page by clicking here… or just click his portrait on the left. Some of his books are available via Metropolis here…

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